Oxygen is quintessential for our being. When one has a respiratory condition and breathing is adversely affected, a doctor prescribes supplemental oxygen to aid the oxygen intake. When we think of supplemental oxygen solutions, a traditional bulky oxygen tank often comes to the mind. Nonetheless, oxygen delivery technology is ever evolving and has made several advances in the last few years. The two widely used oxygen delivery mechanisms at home are oxygen tanks and oxygen concentrators. We’ll discuss below what they are and how they differ so that you can make an informed decision about your choice of oxygen delivery.
Here at American Medical Sales and Rentals, we know that once you’ve been prescribed oxygen therapy things can get a little overwhelming. There’s a lot of information to learn and a lot of equipment and products to consider. Luckily, here at the Oxygen Concentrator Store by American Medical, we’re well versed, being an industry leader since 2001.
We are headquartered in Centennial, Colorado, and support our oxygen customers in the USA and around the globe.
Low-flow oxygen is a standard treatment option for anyone of these cardiopulmonary diseases:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Congestive heart failure
However, once your doctor prescribes low-flow oxygen, finding a reliable oxygen delivery system can be challenging. There are many different options on the market, and they all have various features—so how do you know which is best?
Many people may think that getting oxygen is easy since it’s in the air we breathe. Our ambient air (i.e., the natural air around us) comprises of only 20% oxygen; the rest is a mixture of nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide and other gases. To get pure oxygen, oxygen plants must employ a specialized technique to separate the oxygen from the air, often by collecting air in its gaseous form and liquefying it at cold temperatures.
Once it’s collected, it must be inspected and packaged into different grades.
The purity level of your oxygen delivery is extremely important to your therapy and overall health. An oxygen concentrator is used to maintain a certain level of purity at each individual setting. But what exactly is oxygen purity and what does it mean?
Oxygen is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas that makes up approximately 20% of the air we breathe. If you suffer from COPD or other lung/respiratory diseases you probably require supplemental oxygen. Perhaps you’ve heard your doctor mention oxygen purity when talking about your ideal settings and levels. The word “purity” refers to how pure of a percentage of concentrated oxygen is available to the patient. Medical grade oxygen for an oxygen concentrator should be no less than 90.0% and no more than 96.0%. It’s also important to consider your altitude level when looking at ideal oxygen saturation levels. For example, an ideal saturation level at or near sea level will fluctuate slightly from cities at a higher altitude such as Denver, Colorado. If you’re unsure or confused about your required oxygen levels, consult your doctor.
We recently received a question about which portable oxygen concentrators work best in frigid weather:
"My husband and I are new to this oxygen stuff, the doctor just prescribed it. He is only 49 years old, so you can imagine there is still plenty to do, no sedentary lifestyle here! He feels quite tethered to the bed, let alone the house! So we are looking into renting or purchasing a portable oxygen concentrator unit. He likes the very small inconspicuous one, AirSep Focus & I thought the Respironics Simply Go would be more practical, battery duration & all.
Not everyone with a chronic lung disease will need to use oxygen therapy. Not all those who need oxygen therapy need to use an oxygen concentrator. An oxygen concentrator isn't the only way to get oxygen therapy, since oxygen tanks can sometimes be the better option. However, in most cases, oxygen concentrators are much more convenient, and will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Oxygen therapy is necessary when not enough oxygen can be breathed in by the lungs, and transferred to the blood stream. If enough of the lungs are damaged, it can cause low blood oxygen levels and an increase in carbon dioxide, which cannot be properly exhaled. Oxygen therapy increases blood oxygen levels to normal, and allows for the carbon dioxide to be expelled properly.
Once you have your portable oxygen concentrator, your doctor will most likely go over its functions with you. You will also have a manual to consult when you need to know something specific to your model. Just in case you misplace your manual or you can't get a hold of your doctor, here is a guide to the basics of taking care of and maintaining your portable oxygen concentrator.
Safety first! Shut the oxygen concentrator off and make sure it is not plugged in or charging before you start cleaning it.
COPD and asthma shouldn’t hold you back for the things you love. Not only does this include travel, but it also encompasses special events. Don’t opt out of the next family reunion, wedding or party just because you have the misconception that you won’t be able to continue with your oxygen therapy. With all the solutions available these days, there are portable oxygen concentrators available to fulfill your medical needs while preventing you from missing out on all the fun.